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"It has been narrated by 'Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim." (Sahih Muslim 4366).

So why then were Jews allowed to continue living in Yemen till modern day even though it contradicts Sahih Muslim 4366?

  • Well this isn't a contradiction at all according to some scholars. The point is that at some time Muslims didn't do anything for that purpose! According to that no non-Muslim should even stay at the Gulf-states or Yemen! – Medi1Saif Feb 9 '16 at 7:27
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    On the other hand from my understanding of Islam i wouldn't exclude that this is a fabrication as it seems to me not to go ahead with the Qur'an and the sunna of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as i recall (maybe i'm wrong) when he died he still had some dept toward a Jew! But according to my search there are interpretations of the Hadith which exclude Yemen and explain my doubts to some extent, i will try to post it later! – Medi1Saif Feb 9 '16 at 10:27
  • Is this Hadith authentic? Is it well sourced? It doesnt seem to be one that can be taken as an absolute truth like you can with the Quran. – user13203 Feb 10 '16 at 0:35
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I found a couple of opinions about this hadith and how it should be understood!

  • From this salafi Fatwa (Arabic) one could conclude that this hadith must be applied and it's not allowed to have churches or any kind of place of worship of non-Believers on the Arabic Peninsula (= Saudi Arabia, Gulf-states and Yemen) and if some of that was built it should be destroyed. And Muslims there shouldn't employ non-Muslims unless it's necessary according to shari'a rules!

Some ahadith which have mentioned that and are the basis of this fatwa (and other fatawa/fatwas and interpretations which i may quote later) are in sahih Muslim, sahih al-Bukhari, Muwatta' Malik and there are other narrations in sunan abi Dawod and Musnad al Imam Ahmad.

  • An other salafi scholar tried to explain what was understood about the Arabic Peninsula so he pointed at the definition in the hadith from sahih al-Bukhari "It comprises Mecca, Medina, Al-Yama-ma and Yemen", an other from sunan Abi Dawod.
    Then he explained that according to the shafi-i scholar al-'imrany non-Muslims could enter this area to work or for trading with the accordance of the Imam (Authority), but they shouldn't stay longer then three days at one place in al-hijaz (especially).
    Imam an-Nawawi added in his sharh/explanation of sahih Muslim that this applies for the hijaz in first place as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) only expelled them from hijaz! And he added that Imam Malik and ash-Shahfi'i considered the whole Peninsula as described in the hadith from sahih al-Bukhari, and they declared that non-Muslims shouldn't reside (i think it's more likely to be understood with the option of possessing land or real estates) with the slightly difference that Imam ash-Shafi'i focussed on Mekka, al-Madina and al-Yamama (excluding Yemen).
    Imam abu Hanifa allowed non-Muslims to enter the whole Peninsula excluding the haram in Mekka! Imam ash-Shafi'i said they shouldn't enter the haram unless they have an accordance of the Imam (Authority) and the entrance would be beneficial for Muslims!
    Some scholars allowed the entrance (for work, trading etc.) of non-Muslims with the accordance of Muslims living in the Peninsula.

So apparently non-Muslims are allowed to enter the Peninusla and work there as far as they have an accordance from authorities (in best case) or a kind of contract they only shouldn't stay at one place in the so called hijaz area for more then 3 days! They shouldn't posses real estates and shouldn't build any place of worship there!

  • My third source put a more focus on the meaning of this hadith, for example expelling doesn't mean killing as Allah asked us to be friendly towards those who don't fight Muslims (60:8).
    Also some comments from "The Story of Civilization" by William James Durant and Thomas Arnold and others were quoted to show how Muslims dealt with non-Muslims, for example they didn't force anybody to become Muslim in any Muslim state. Adding that in some countries you may have to sign that you accept some rules to be allowed to travel there.
    Also they tried to explain why this would apply to the Arabic Peninsula, for example: Allah wanted this place to be a pure monotheistic land, that the non-Believers especially Jews had broke many agreements with Muslims and sided with the non-Believers ...
  • My fourth source gives more details how this hadith should be dealt with! I'll list them briefly:

    • This hadith applies to people from any other religion than Islam.
    • Non-Muslims who have a contract are excluded from this!
    • Expelling them does not mean expelling them by force or killing.
    • They are allowed to live in the Peninsula temporary, but shouldn't show their religion or have any religious buildings.
    • This hadith addresses the Authorities: For example the Khalifa, President, King or Emir of any country which is part of the Peninusla! If the authorities didn't do their job one should be patient, make dua' for them, advise them the best way, obey them and don't go against them.
    • Again many options of what includes the meant Arabic Peninsula were quoted!
    • As a proof for why the Peninsula meant by the Hadith doesn't include the whole Peninsula or what we now know as the Arabic Peninsula they Quoted ibn Hajar'S statement:

    قال رحمه الله عن جزيرة العرب :
    ( لكن الذي يُمنع المشركون من سُكناه منها : الحجاز خاصّة ؛ وهو : مكة والمدينة واليمامة وما والاها , لا فيما سوى ذلك مما يُطلق عليه اسم جزيرة العرب ؛ لاتّفاق الجميع على أن اليمن لا يُمنعون منها مع أنها مِن جُملة جزيرة العرب )

which includes the hijaz: Mekka, Medina, al-Yamamah and what is next to it. Because there's a consensus on excluding Yemen from this definition!

Conclusion

This Hadith seems to be Sahih and it should be applied, but it doesn't mean that non-Muslims don't have the right to enter Arabic Peninsula, but it doesn't allow what we call today "freedom of belief" and having estates there. So they are free to come for work and business as long as this would be temporary.
Note that the Arabic Peninsula form the Hadith differs a lot from what we call it now!

And Allah knows best!

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